Working with Harsh Sunlight – Fashion Photography Behind the Scenes

Welcome to our fashion photography behind the scenes blog, where we delve into the intriguing world of working with harsh sunlight. In this series, we aim to uncover the secrets behind creating stunning images in harsh lighting conditions, exploring various techniques and tools used by professional photographers to capture the beauty of fashion in the unforgiving sun. From controlling shadows to mastering exposure, we will provide you with invaluable insights into how to make the best of this challenging lighting situation. So, whether you are an aspiring fashion photographer or a curious enthusiast, join us on this enlightening journey and unlock the secrets to successful fashion photography in harsh sunlight.

Working with Harsh Sunlight – Fashion Photography Behind the Scenes

In the world of fashion photography, capturing stunning images requires the perfect blend of talent, creativity, and technical expertise. One particular challenge that photographers often face is working with harsh sunlight. In this article, we will explore the behind-the-scenes techniques used by professionals to overcome this challenge and create visually appealing fashion photos even in difficult lighting conditions.

Understanding the Impact of Harsh Sunlight

Harsh sunlight can cast strong, unflattering shadows and create blown-out highlights in photographs. It can also make the subject squint, causing discomfort and posing difficulties during the shoot. To counter these limitations, photographers employ various techniques and equipment.

Planning the Shoot

Photographers understand the importance of careful planning before any shoot, especially when dealing with harsh sunlight. Choosing the right location is crucial. Look for shaded areas, interesting backgrounds, or objects that can be used to block or diffuse the sunlight. The time of day is also critical. Early mornings or late afternoons, known as the golden hours, provide softer and more flattering light.

Using Reflectors and Diffusers

Reflectors and diffusers are valuable tools in a photographer’s arsenal when working with harsh sunlight. Reflectors bounce light onto the subject, filling in shadows and creating a more even lighting. Silver or white reflectors are commonly used. Diffusers, on the other hand, soften the harsh light by scattering it, resulting in a more diffused, flattering illumination. Using reflectors and diffusers strategically can help control the intensity and direction of the sunlight.

Utilizing Fill Flash

Fill flash is another technique used to balance the exposure when shooting under harsh sunlight. By adding a burst of artificial light, photographers can illuminate the subject’s face, reducing shadows and adding depth. The flash output is adjusted to complement the natural light, creating a more even and pleasing result. This method helps to maintain proper exposure and capture essential details, even in challenging lighting conditions.

Overcoming Squinting

Strong sunlight often causes the subject to squint, resulting in unflattering facial expressions. To address this issue, photographers may direct the subject to avoid looking directly at the sun or provide sunglasses as a fashion accessory. Additionally, they can utilize creative angles and perspectives to highlight certain features while minimizing the impact of squinting.

Post-Processing Techniques

Post-processing plays a significant role in fashion photography, especially when shooting in harsh sunlight. Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are popular tools used to enhance and optimize images. Photographers can adjust exposure levels, reduce highlights, enhance shadows, and fine-tune color tones to achieve the desired mood and look. Post-processing enables photographers to overcome some limitations caused by the harsh sunlight during the shoot.


Working with harsh sunlight in fashion photography requires creativity, technical skills, and careful planning. Professional photographers know how to leverage reflectors, diffusers, fill flash, and post-processing techniques to overcome the challenges posed by strong sunlight. By understanding the impact of harsh sunlight and applying these techniques, photographers can capture stunning fashion images even in the most challenging lighting conditions.

Working with Harsh Sunlight – Fashion Photography Behind the Scenes

Q: How do you protect your models from harsh sunlight during a fashion photoshoot?

A: To protect models from harsh sunlight, we use large diffusers or reflectors to soften and control the light. Additionally, we provide them with sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats to shield them from direct sunlight exposure.

Q: How can harsh sunlight affect fashion photography?

A: Harsh sunlight can cast harsh shadows and create high contrast in photos, which may wash out the subject’s features and colors. It can also cause squinting and discomfort for the models, hindering their ability to showcase the fashion effectively.

Q: How do you control the exposure in harsh sunlight conditions?

A: To control exposure in harsh sunlight, we use techniques such as adjusting camera settings like shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Additionally, we may use neutral density filters to darken the scene and avoid overexposure.

Q: What are some tips for shooting in harsh sunlight?

A: Here are a few tips for shooting in harsh sunlight:
– Shoot during the golden hour (early morning or late afternoon) when the sunlight is softer.
– Utilize shaded areas or find locations with natural diffusing elements, like trees or buildings.
– Experiment with different angles and compositions to minimize harsh shadows.
– Consider using artificial lighting or fill flash to balance out the harsh sunlight.
– Use a polarizing filter to reduce glare and enhance colors.

Q: Can post-processing help improve photos taken in harsh sunlight?

A: Yes, post-processing can help improve photos taken in harsh sunlight. Techniques such as adjusting exposure, contrast, and white balance can help compensate for the harsh lighting conditions. Additionally, you can edit shadows and highlights to bring out more details in the image.

Q: What type of equipment is most suitable for shooting in harsh sunlight?

A: When shooting in harsh sunlight, it’s recommended to use a camera with a wide dynamic range and good low-light performance. Additionally, investing in quality lenses with built-in image stabilization can help minimize the impact of camera shake caused by bright sunlight.

I hope you find useful my article Working with Harsh Sunlight – Fashion Photography Behind the Scenes, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

Please consider joining my newsletter or following me on social media if you like my content.


Have you ever felt a burning desire to break free from the confines of modern...Read More

Canon’s FINALLY Going 3rd Party?! WATCH OUT, Nikon’s MASSIVE Update COMING SOON…

Are you an avid photographer in search of the latest camera equipment upgrades? Well, you’re...Read More

First WILD rumors about the Sony A7sIV specs: 2 layer sensor and crazy ISO performance?

Are you ready to take your photography and videography to new levels? The rumors about...Read More

Rode Wireless ME Review // Auto Mic Level Control That Works

Are you tired of constantly adjusting the mic levels during your video shoots or live...Read More

NEW DJI Pocket 3 Face Tracking Test

Are you a content creator looking for a reliable and user-friendly camera that can keep...Read More

Panasonic Lumix S Pro 16-35mm F4 Review w / S5 IIx & S1

Are you in the market for a new lens for your Panasonic Lumix S5 II...Read More

Where Photographers Should Post Their Photos in 2022 | Part 2 (Pinterest)

Welcome to the second part of our series on where photographers should post their photos...Read More

How to Create Selections in Photoshop | Day 5

Are you looking to enhance your photo editing skills in Photoshop? If so, you’ve come...Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *